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Someone's Left

News like this makes the world shimmer and you blink, looking around, thinking is it still the same? It looks the same, but someone's left. (@jayneferst)

This is one of the first tweets I read this morning on waking, on the day we learned that David Bowie died. My first thought was that I wish I had been the one to write something so lovely and poignant and deep before Jayne Ferst did.

On days like this, when a hero, a legend, departs this earth, you find yourself questioning so many things. If you grew up with his music, or at least with it playing somewhere in the background of your life - even if it was just peripheral - then you are old enough to start thinking about some pretty deep stuff. If someone like David Bowie can die, with all his fame and with millions of fans, admirers and people who love him, then of course, we are going to have to face this too. Not just our own death, but that of people that we love. That is a big part of why a passing like this hits us so deeply. Because of course most of us did not know David, but his fans are entitled to love and mourn him just as surely as his family does, and the rest of us can see that the world has lost a great musical talent.

I was never what you would call a fan of David’s – I think I was a little too young when he was at his most prolific and fabulous. Of course I remember the Lets Dance days (not his best, or happiest, but probably his most lucrative and certainly the days that brought him to a much wider audience), but by then it was too late for me to convert. But I do most definitely acknowledge his brilliance.

Looking back on his songs today, as I am sure millions of people are doing, my overriding thought is that he was a fabulous poet. His lyrics are amazing. They told his story in such a perfect way, spoke of inner struggles; his battles with a fucked up world; the joys of parenthood; loves rich and deep and ultimately lost; faith and death. They wove a magnificent tapestry that depicted the twisted insides of this incredibly complex man, and like even the most beautiful of tapestries, when you turn it around, you see the joins, the mistakes, the loose threads.

Maybe David was hiding behind his characters all these years, but in death he has exposed himself as a genius. Taken far too soon.

Ground Control to Major Tom

Commencing countdown, engines on

Check ignition, and may God’s love be with you.

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